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5 postures to help keep you cool in the summer!

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

To say it’s hot is a bit of an understatement. I live in Southeastern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert. We are used to “hot” and know how to deal with it. The above-average temperatures may be new to you. Here are 5 postures to help keep you cool.

The first is not a posture at all but a breathing technique. Sitali or cooling breath. It may look a bit odd, but it is effective. Like much of yoga, it mimics the behavior of animals that use breath movement over the tongue to cool the body from the inside.

To practice: Curl the tongue and inhale the breath as though you were sucking air through a straw, suspend the inhale for a comfortable moment, then exhale slowly through the nose. Continue for several rounds of breath. If you’re not able to curl your tongue (like me), you can purse your lips as if you were sipping through a straw on the inhale. To enhance the soothing effects, drink a glass of cool (not cold) water.

All forward folds soothe the nervous system, encourage introspection, calm the mind and cool the body. The one I want to talk about today is YogaMudra. This forward fold takes our hamstrings out of the equation, so increases the comfort of the pose.

To practice: find a comfortable seated posture (cross-legged or kneeling on the floor, or at the edge of a chair), with your eyes closed if possible. As you exhale bend forward from the hips, keeping the spine lengthened. If practicing on the floor, bring your forehead to the mat (or your hands, or a block). If practicing from a chair, bring your belly to rest on your legs. Be here for several rounds of breath, focusing on relaxing your whole body. To come out, do so on an inhale, with a nice long spine. If you have practiced Yogamudra in a cross-legged position, you may do it again with the opposite leg on top or in front.

While we are folding forward, we shouldn’t overlook Child’s Pose. Child’s Pose is a reminder that we need to sometimes be human beings and not human do-ings.

To practice: Come to hands and knees (I suggest something under the knees like a blanket). Spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching. Push your hips back toward your feet, bring your belly to rest on your legs, and place your forehead to rest on the mat (or your hands, or a block). There are several arm variations here. Arms outstretched palms down, or arms reaching behind palms up. Do what brings you the most comfort. Breathe here. When coming out, do so slowly on an inhale, and remember Child’s pose is an inversion.

Reclined twists are a great way to decompress and squeeze out the anxiety and frustrations of your day. It’s just like wringing out a sponge. There are numerous twists, but I am going to keep it simple with Reclined Lord of the Fishes (If you are interested, read up on the history of the name).

To practice: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. The Head can be elevated on a blanket if it helps to keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Let your arms rest at your sides. As you exhale, bring both knees to your chest. Extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right foot to the floor. Shift your hips slightly to the right. Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder height with your palm facing down.

Exhaling, drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee. Breathe here. When you are ready to come out, do so on an inhale with the core engaged to protect the back. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side.

The final pose is one of my favorites. Legs up the Wall. It cures what ails you. If you are stressed, fatigued, or jet-lagged, this pose is especially refreshing. What it is best for is another example that positive results can come from doing less, not more.

To practice: Sit on the floor with your sitting bones against the wall and swing your legs vertically above you with both legs above your hips. You can rest your head against the floor. You can elevate your head or pelvis slightly here if it helps to keep your spine natural. Maybe use an eye bag to relax your face and rest your hands on your belly or beside you on the floor. You can be here for as long as you like. Again, remember this is an inversion so be kind to yourself when you come out.

Keeping ourselves cool in the summer is important and serves as a reminder that our bodies and minds need a break from life.

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